I recently read a book, “Keep Going” by Austin Kleon–a fun little jaunt through artists’ everyday struggles. Being an artist (or aspiring musician) is like a long-term relationship; there are ups and downs, high and low arcs, times of discovery and joy, and times when it seems like nothing is new or will ever change. Despite the somewhat extreme nature of it all, discovering and cultivating a healthy relationship with the art inside yourself can be one of the best things you do; it can be a genuinely sustainable, constant, grounding relationship in an otherwise crazy, misguiding world.
“Keep Going” came to mind because of another story I do not remember the author of. It goes like this:
Being an artist or musician, you are like a shopkeeper. Inspiration is out there somewhere–a generous customer–just waiting to visit you. Some days inspiration might stop by and browse your store, buying a small item or two. On other days it might buy the entire store. Still, on other days it might not show up at all. As a shopkeeper, the only way to meet inspiration is to provide a means for it to visit, which means rain or shine, you gotta open that shop.
So, what is your “shop”? For me, it’s the guitar. So I practice as regularly as possible. I create a practice routine that provides a framework for success. I’ve learned that it’s often getting lost in the process of working rather than what I accomplish that keeps me going.
Now go open that shop.
You can reach me in the real world here.